ICYMI: Refugee board redeploys staff to cope with surge in asylum claims
2017/02/07 Leave a comment
The IRB also has about 20 vacancies out of a total of over 90:
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada says it is changing its approach for scheduling asylum hearings in order to cope with “increasing refugee claims” and “global instability.”
The board has seen a dramatic increase in the number of inland refugee claimants (those who arrive in Canada and seek asylum) from 10,751 in 2013 to 16,914 in 2015. Just nine months into 2016, 16,279 claims had been filed and the yearly tally, which isn’t yet available, is expected to reach 20,000.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies coupled with as Ottawa’s recent move to lift the visa requirements for Mexican travellers mean Canada is expected to see its annual asylum claims peak again this year.
In a terse notice, the board said it will redeploy up to half of its capacity to address its backlog of claims, which stands at more than 21,000, while the rest of staff will continue to focus on newly arrived claims that must be heard within 60 days under the controversial statutory timelines imposed by the former Conservative government.
In the last year or so, lawyers have been complaining of delays by the Canada Border Services Agency in issuing security clearances, which refugees need before their claims can be heard. If they don’t have a security clearance at their first hearing, lawyers say, claimants are doomed to wait “in a black hole” until a new hearing is scheduled.
“Under a new process, certain claims identified by the (board’s) refugee protection division as straightforward will be scheduled for a short hearing,” said the notice issued Friday.
“The expectation is that a substantial majority of these claims will be finalized at the end of the short hearing. The provision to grant refugee protection to certain claims without a hearing will remain.”